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GREAT PLACE TO WATCH THE GAME: Tap Room on 19th

PhillyBestBYOB Jan 5, 2014 03:05 PM

Inspired by the other thread lamenting how we tend talk about the same 15 Philly restaurants over and over, I don't think the new TAP ROOM ON 19TH (corner of S 19th and Ritner) has been mentioned on the board yet. I was there for the second time last night to watch the Eagles game with PhillyFoodDude.

If you are like me, it's hard to find a decent place to watch a game. Most bars are too big, too noisy, and the food usually leaves a lot to be desired. The bars with great drinks and food also tend not to be well set up for watching a game. I'd rather stay home.

TR19 is a pleasant change from this pattern...

Previously a neighborhood hangout in the Girard Estate area of South Philly, it has been around for a few years, but was recently bought out by co-owners Michael and Pete. This is their very first bar or restaurant venture. They closed down, did some remodeling (nothing fancy, but an attractive interior), and opened again in early November.

If you are looking for a good place to watch the BCS championship tomorrow night, this is it. The vibe is kind of a cross between a local's bar and a gastropub and it's small enough that the crowd doesn't get too loud. The long thin room has counter seating and 4 top tables along the bar and a small dining area in the back (the upstairs room is not being fully utilized yet). Importantly, the 3 large plasma screens make for great viewing in the bar, but maybe less so in the back dining area.

And most importantly, the food is excellent... Chef Jennifer Choplin, who you may remember from The Butcher & The Brewer and then SoWe, was hired on as chef, and her cooking turns this from a local's hangout to great destination to watch the game, even if you don't live nearby.

In a Michael Klein interview, they described the menu as "upscale comfort stoner food." I don't know what that means, but it's damn tasty bar food.

~Caramelized Pork Belly snacks with maple mustard ($5)--Imagine crispy little french fries that are actually made from pork belly, these were really good, but as you might imagine, super rich. I'd never be able to finish a whole serving by myself.

~Bangers (2) & Mash...authentic irish sausages, chard mash, beer & bacon braised fennel ($15)--These are, dare I say it, banging bangers & mash! The sausages are custom made by Sam Jacobson, the chef from Southwark and are just killer.

~Pork Roll sandwich (see photo)--Talyor pork, a sunnyside-up egg, and melted cheddar cheese on a roll...PhillyFoodDude had to explain to me that "Pork Roll" is a Jersey Shore thing. Whatever, dude, this is a very simple, but ultimately great sandwich. I could eat these all day, every day (and apparently even though they are not on the dinner menu, they are available all day). Comes with a salad but we subbed some excellent fries and dipping sauce (although I think we got the end of the day's fries, since they were mostly little nubbins). According to Wikipedia, this is also know as the "Jersey Breakfast". Clearly I'm not from around here.

Quality tap list that is constantly changing, plus about 20 by the bottle and some excellent cocktails.

Taps:
~Stone IPA
~Fuller's ESB
~Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout (very smooth drinking)
~Bell's Kalamazoo Stout
~Ballast Point Big Eye IPA
~Great Divide Hibernation Old English Ale
~Petrus Aged Pale Ale
~Cigar City Florida Cracker White Ale
~Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter (tastes just like a chocolate shake! not sweet though)
~Boulder Mojo IPA Nitro
~Yuengling Lord Chesterfield Ale
~Strongbow Dry English Cider
~Stoudt's Big Nasty Imperial IPA

Apparently they are on the Deschutes Brewery (all the news recently) distribution list too.

On Tuesdays, they do $2 tacos all day. Or for $7 you can get a taco, a Corona and a shot of Tequila!

Great bartenders, owners on premises. Street parking, which would normally scare me away, but call Michael and he'll tell you the trick that will make it easy for you.

Some additional photos:
https://twitter.com/CaskandMouse/status/416327586223243265/photo/1
https://twitter.com/JenniferChoplin/status/418514241323155456/photo/1
https://twitter.com/CaskandMouse/stat...

Damn...I want another one of those Pork Rolls right now!

 
  1. PhillyBestBYOB Jan 6, 2014 11:32 AM

    Actually, now that I think about it, our Bangers & Mash had a mushroom sauce, not braised fennel (copied the desciption above from Menu Pages).

    1. c
      Chefpaulo Jan 5, 2014 07:05 PM

      Nice promo. I trust you were comped with all of the above.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chefpaulo
        PhillyBestBYOB Jan 5, 2014 08:08 PM

        No, I wasn't comped on anything, and I left a 30% tip too (because I'm a nice guy who supports local small business owners, not a jerk).

        I did however get a tour of the kitchen (about the size of my closet), which I did not pay for.

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